We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.
Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge.
Extra Strength for First Christmas: Elizabeth.
It’s an entire season dedicated to warm fuzzy feelings and having fun in the great outdoors. The entire world gets nice all of the sudden and all troubles cease for the month of December.
Families come together and everybody just feels good all the time. Right? That is certainly how society portrays Christmas — it’s as though as soon as December 1 rolls around, we are supposed to feel happy every second of every day until December 26.
After Christmas, it’s like its okay to feel depressed and worried and sick again. But for the 25 days before, we aren’t supposed to feel that way. It is supposed to be peace on earth and good will to men 24/7.
But Christmas isn’t like that. As much as we would like it, things like cancer and debt and jobs and addiction and depression still exist just as much, maybe even more, during the holidays. A new month cannot bring you out of the place you are in. But God can.
Pastor Bryan spoke on Sunday about Elizabeth who prayed for a baby and God said “no” for a very long time. Elizabeth was barren. Although she was filled with shame, she never grew angry at God. She never cursed Him or ran away. God later showed Elizabeth mercy and blessed her in her old age with a child.
“God delights in bringing new life to barren places.”
That isn’t just true of Elizabeth. That’s true of us all. Whether you are in the same boat as Elizabeth, wondering where your baby is, or if you’re wondering when you’ll get a job or your sickness will go away or when a loved one will accept Jesus, we probably have one question in common: why. Why is God doing this? Why am I here? We may never know the answer.
But if we trust in God and in His plan, God will give us what we need. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Don’t worry bout the “why” right now. Worry about how you can praise while you’re in this place, even if it is one of hardship. This might not be a time where all problems are miraculously erased, but it can be one of celebration ; perhaps now’s the time to go make those gingerbread houses and roast chestnuts over an open fire and go caroling, praising God because we know He is a God who delights in taking our broken and turning it into beauty.
- Consider your own struggles and ask God to help you see them from a bigger perspective.
- Go through the Conversation Starter either alone, with your small group or a friend.